Here we go again. CounterPunch publishes an article by Diana Johnstone which questions the role of the AntiFa movement and is excoriated a week later by Amitai Ben-Abba in an article that strangely resembles the treatment Caitlin Johnstone, an Australian blogger (no relation that I know of), got from a couple of Cpunch contributors (one of which is here) when she tried to plea for a less than binary, absolutist approach to the Right. I’m now waiting for the pile-on to Jim Kavanagh’s recent piece on Cpunch, suggesting that the Left leave some of its ideological purity aside and start “thinking” about stuff outside their intellectual circle jerks. Like the whole idea of “rights” in the first place, and how those “rights” have everything to do with class struggle and oppression by Capital, something with which the Left claims to be concerned. See the previous post or the links below.
There are so many questions involved in these intellectual shoot-outs that you’d probably have to write a book about it. There are probably lots of them out there. I don’t spend my time searching out the arcania of all these disputes because I have a garden and on old stone house to take care of and, by the time I’m finished with a day’s work, and have my dose of José Saramago (this time, L’autre comme moi ), I’m pretty ragged out, and content myself with a reading of a few alternative sites, CounterPunch included.
Which brings me to a point I wanted to make earlier. On the one hand, you have to hand it to CP for publishing stuff from different points of view. I think that’s what makes it a good resource for trying to figure out what’s going on these days. On the other hand, some of their rebuttal articles, like the ones cited above, coming from some of their frequent contributors, seem to have been written by an adolescent whose invitation to the prom to a popular girl was summarily dismissed, and then who badmouths proms as bourgeois narcissisim. Or, as Louis Proyect once called me, “a dickwad” (whatever that means). I haven’t forgotten all my English, so I assume it’s sexual in nature, and I’m not into sexual identity cat fights. Or “identity” cat fights of any kind.
And it’s not a matter of “Why can’t we all just get along?” Although, to my mind, it’s a perfectly legitimate, albeit, pretty naïve question. Naïve in the sense that any of our collective impulses have been atomized into this thing they call “identity politics”, which seems to have resulted from the uber-importance of social media like Facebook and Twitter, both owned by billionaires, the very ones enslaving us.
I can understand all the “good little Eichmanns” (always a hats off to Ward Churchill) out there wanting to belong to or be associated with the latest trends because education in the US is anything but, so all these “followers”, whether they be left, right, or somewhere else of what’s left of a political spectrum, have to find their own herd, virtual or not, so as to have this sense of identity (much like many of the Bernie supporters who were goat-herded back into la Clinton’s own swamp of corruption) instead of having the tools, which a decent “education”, rather than “formation” could possibly provide, for thinking for themselves, so as to recognize that they’re all being pushed and pulled this way and that. Manuel Garcia Jr, in a recent post, talked about a lack of culture. I agree with him on that. The same kind of chaos socially, that the US uses militarily to destroy the few remaining countries that refuse to bend over to US rape, predation, call it what you will.
These kinds of internecine fights are counter-productive. They only serve the rule of “divide to conquer”, and the Left is just as guilty as the Right. Those who oppose a reaching out, a conversation with those who may have ideas a bit different are just as oppressive as the powers we are are trying to overcome.